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Old 04-03-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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We are relocating from a very diverse (along all lines: economic, racial, religious....) community NJ to north of Chicago and are considering homes that feed into Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Deerfield & Stevenson High Schools. Anyone know which high school might be the most welcoming/fewest cliques and if any of the schools have formal programs for assimilating new (non-freshman) students?
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Hollywood/Brookfield, IL
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Stevenson has a program for transfer students. Each student is assigned to a "buddy" who shows them around the school on a special orientation day for transfer students (during the week prior to the start of the school year) and answers their questions. They try to match people with the same lunch periods so the transfer students have someone to eat lunch with on the first day of school...a cafeteria full of unfamiliar faces is a little daunting. There's also a special breakfast for transfer students during the 2nd or 3rd week of school which gives them a chance to socialize with each other, and the school social workers are there if they want to ask any questions or get some advice.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:37 PM
 
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Yes, Stevenson is top of the line. Good luck with your move
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:49 PM
 
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if you are looking for diversity, along the three lines you mentioned, you will find almost none of them at Stevenson. To get any real diversity you will need to head down to Evanston, etc. but truthfully, not much economic diversity up and down the north shore. All the high schools mentioned will have similar new student services.
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:33 PM
 
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Buffalo Grove High School is more diverse.
Emmie
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Old 04-04-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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In most of northern Illinois there is not a whole lot of employment diversity anymore: people either work in good paying office-oriented jobs or they struggle. We've waved bye-bye to most of the good paying manufacturing jobs. There are/were sizeable numbers of construction related jobs, though with the shift away from union labor and the collapse of new home building this sector is hit hard. Simply put: you are not going to find a whole lot of economic diversity here. Racial diversity is real hard to come by too.

Frankly if you look through the demographic info available online about ALL Illinois schools there is a somewhat depressing sameness in the results: the best performing schools almost with out exception have very homogenous student bodies that are generally pretty affluent.

Personally I know Stevenson HS. The kids do well on test and get into selective colleges. That said the place is HUGE, like "crush of humanity" whenever the kids change classes. I would have no desire to send any kid their, especially a transfer student used to a diverse scene. Libertyville schools aren't much better, nor are Deerfield. Buffalo Grove has more immigrant parents from Asia/India/middle east, but still not exactly a UN feel.

I frankly don't think you are going to find something like what you are looking for ANYWHERE in the suburbs. All the schools are SO VERY LARGE that there plenty of cliques, the kids have to cope somehow. Maybe if you children are talented in sports or music or something they could get involved in that, most of those kids are little more accepting of others with similar interests.

My advice would be try to relocate to as good a school district as you can afford. The first reason is that a higher percentage of high performing students will decrease the chances that your kids will end up getting shut out of the challenging classes. Second reason is that such areas are somewhat more resilient to the decline in housing prices.
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:53 PM
 
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As a Transfer Buddy at Stevenson High School I would first like to compliment the Buddy program. The program does not only benefit the new students that enroll in the program, as a buddy I have made many great friends. My best friend also happens to be someone who moved in the middle of last year from Boston.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chloemom View Post
if you are looking for diversity, along the three lines you mentioned, you will find almost none of them at Stevenson. To get any real diversity you will need to head down to Evanston, etc. but truthfully, not much economic diversity up and down the north shore. All the high schools mentioned will have similar new student services.
Stevenson is a very diverse school. I have African-Americans, Latino-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Caucasians in all of my classes. The great thing is not the fact that there is diversity, the great thing is that there are no racial conflicts. I have never seen and hazing or teasing because of a person's race, ethnicity, or religion.

LuckyStone: You fear cliques, and that is understandable. As a student and transfer buddy at Stevenson High school I do see cliques but these cliques are always accepting to new friends. As I have said, I met some of my best friends through the buddy program and I hope to continue making friends in the program.

Chet Everett: Stevenson honestly is a big school that feels like a small school. My classes are on average 20 people per class and I have the same students in multiple classes of mine. I do not feel that Stevenson's big school atmosphere should be frowned upon whatsoever. It only brings benefits such as multiple HUGE computer labs with great help. A well-sized library with great help. Two 'Resource Centers' which have private tutors for foreign languages, history, english, and math. And these private tutors are teachers who tutor during their free period.
One acceptable problem with a big school is navigating it. Not only will transfer buddy's like me spend all day if we have to on orientation day until we know you know how to get around, but the Transfer Buddy Program works with the school so that your classes are relatively in the same area--One of my transfers this year had all of his classes in the same hallway. He only had to leave this hall for lunch and gym. Because of this coordination- The size of the school shrinks from two buildings to one hallway---an easy to handle change.
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:35 AM
 
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Respectfully, I do not believe that you can compare a huge school, no matter how well thought out, to a small school. The work that Stevenson has done to make the transfer buddy program successful is impressive, and so is the coordinationt that has allowed friends of ours to have all their classes in one hall. If people are interested in that kind of an experience it is good to have first hand reports of the success. Smaller schools are quite different. While the number of students in each classroom will likely be similar to the 20 or so avg class size you've experienced, the interactions that students have with one anothter are considerably different, as are the kinds of interactions the faculty and higher administration has with students and one another. Having taught in both a very large school, where I did not have much interaction even with members of my own department, and in a very small school where I frequently worked with people from completely different areas, I can say that there was a very different feel in each case. Of course we only had one very small resource center and no tutors, though students often came directly to me for assistence with both assignment from my class or others... These are all trade offs that people should be aware of.
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
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Lucky Stone,
Check out schooldigger.com Then look at school sizes. Then take a look at the HS district web-site to look at programs and course offerings. From a reputation stand-point, all schools listed are quite good
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDChicago View Post
The real diversity in these schools you mentioned is Gentile and Jew, with more Asians now than before. And these groups, and their parents, still unfortunately form cliques. You will find the Jewish cliques the most unwelcoming and insular at the aforementioned schools imho, but that shouldn't mean you should avoid those schools.

Hope this helps.
What a generalization to make. I agree that kids self-segregate along racial lines but to make a statement that cliques develop between Gentile and Jew and then Asian seems way too assumptive. Kids stick together where they feel comfortable and with things in common. This may start out as along race or religion lines at first but friendships broaden in diversity as the kids find other things they like together.

As a Jew, I like to have friendships with all but it is nice around holiday time not to Christmas thrown in your face with every conversation.
Emmie
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